I suck at consistency, obviously

Here is most rant-filled, grammatically cataclysmic post thus far to make up for my three days absence. 

The past couple days have been a roller coaster — a phrase which I can now confidently say is not one word and not hyphenated in AP Style, because of a timed writing I had to do yesterday for my multimedia lab. It was used in a quote by a woman to describe a week during which her first grandson was born, and her husband shot himself with a nail gun (don’t worry, he survived). My week wasn’t quite as macabre, but for some reason, weirdly emotional and sleepless and stressful and just ugh I want to go home. In no particular order, the events of this week that have built up and torn down my faith in humanity.

The lack of indictment in the Eric Garner case. Like actually wtf. I was upset about the way the Michael Brown case turned out and could understand the frustration but could also acknowledge the ambiguity of the witness testimonies. With Eric Garner, I watched the horrendous video (that for some reason news channels have taken the ridiculous liberty of playing non-stop without giving thought to the fact that we are literally seeing a man die over and over again  on television) and broke down crying at work because it was such a moment of helplessness and frustration. I couldn’t deal. I still can’t deal. I’ve never felt so helpless in something I care so much about and that’s such a scary feeling.

Mindy Kaling’s book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me and Other Concerns. I read this book despite the fact that a) I promised myself that I wouldn’t pick up another book until I finished Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone which I have been trying to get through since summer and b) it’s currently finals week so I really shouldn’t be reading for pleasure anyways. That being said, it was great. It reminded me how much work and failure and rejection it takes to get anywhere in life. It made me laugh when I was pissed off at everything. Which, in turn, reminded me how essential entertainers and commentators and comedy are to society. When I was younger, I don’t think I had every very many opportunities to read/experience any form of entertainment media in the U.S. by South Asian Americans. But recently, I don’t know if I’ve become more aware, or if there are actually more by number, I’ve found so many great writers. Atul Gawande, Mindy Kaling, Aasif Mandvi, Abraham Verghese — even seeing that new kid Hassan Minhaj on the Daily Show makes me so happy. It’s so validating to see snippets of your own experience, and acknowledgement of your frustrations, told in the stories of others.

The stupid shooting threat at my school. I can’t stand people who go out of their way to make people feel unsafe. I don’t understand what is accomplished by that and it just makes me mad. So when I got an alert by my school about a Twitter shooting threat, my internal monologue was 1.) “aw hell no” followed by 2.) little bit of fear followed by 3.) John Oliver saying “There have always been motherf***ers, there will always be motherf***ers, but what we can’t do is let them control our motherf***ing lives.” And then I wrote up a story about the threat for USA Today College that got edited and published with a bunch of grammatical errors and typos but got 1.2k shares so I guess it’s ok in the end.

The ridiculous Rolling Stone / UVA rape case drama that’s going down. It’s so frustrating that such basic journalistic standards of ethics were completely ignored, which will, in the long run, harm the already marginalized and stigmatized voices of rape victims. While Rolling Stone may be able to save face with great PR (and they’ve already released statements covering their backs) this endangers so many victims and their willingness to come forward with their stories. Beyond annoyed, beyond frustrated.

My last day of lecture and lab in my favorite class of the semester: Multimedia Writing. I loved this class so much. I could go on for a while about all of the things that were amazing about it. And it’s my blog, so I’ll go ahead and do that. I learned a lot. The construction of the class was ingenious in the way that at the beginning of the semester, we were given a fact sheet and pretty much told how to construct ledes, nut grafs, and all of the the components of a news story — something that most of us were completely unfamiliar and uncomfortable with. But, each week, they would slowly take away some of the help, to the point that now, at the end of the semester, we can confidently interview, write, and get published a story without a rubric, in a style of writing that we literally had no idea how to work with just 14 weeks prior. It makes me love writing so much more, I feel so much more confident, and I’m so much more excited about my future journalism classes. The same cannot be said about orgo chem because jeez that class has just been one massive train wreck from start to end.

The last day of lecture in multimedia, our amazing professor read us a speech someone gave at a 50-year college reunion or something that pretty much listed all of the technological innovations and advancements and events and changes that had happened between college graduation and where they were now. And at first, it was inspiring because you realize how far we have come — in terms of media, communications and technology — in such a short amount of time. But, the more I think about it, the scarier it is. Everything I’m learning about now, everything I care about now, has the potential to become completely and utterly obsolete in just my lifetime. And as inevitable and obvious as that statement is, it’s really disheartening and makes me have all kinds of existential feels that I don’t know how to cope with because I am young and inexperienced and jacked up on caffeine and frightened by the concept of finiteness. Peace out.

I wish I was funny but I guess sassy is ok

I really really admire people who are are able to make people laugh with ease. It’s a weird mix of awe and envy, because I don’t think that I have the eye for that irony and wit that you need to be a genuinely funny person. There’s a certain level of emotional intelligence coupled with acute observational skills that I think funny people seem to inherently possess that I would love to have.

Today, I watched way too many episodes of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and was reminded of how much talent it takes to really do well in comedy — a precise balance of uniqueness and relatability. If I could have even half of those skills, I would be satisfied.

I’ve consciously attempted humorous writing only a handful of times, and it feels like such an uncomfortable charade of a person I am not, that I usually end of up deleting it long before any other eyes read it.

The exception was when I made an absolutely disastrous attempt at satire in one of my college application essays, that at the moment I thought to be genuinely funny, but now makes me cringe. I literally can’t get through the first couple sentences without feeling to urge to backhand my awkward and incredibly conceited and self-assured high school self. It was a response to the prompt, “A space exploration has successfully transported the first human colonists to the planet Mars. What are the first three laws that must be put into place, and why?” (Damn you UChicago for your new-agey college application essay prompts) and I named the organization responsible for the successful space exploration “MnogoDeneg” — Russian for “Big Money.” And that’s just the start of my horrible, sophomoric attempts at satirizing the evils of capitalism, from all of the wisdom and perspective of a 17-year-old.

Maybe, by reading and studying enough really great writing, I’ll someday be able to wield the tools of humor as effortlessly as I would like. But the closest I’ve gotten was today, when someone said my latest UF Honors blog post was “sassy.” I guess I can live with that for now.


Someone please take the internet away from me

I do this thing where when I get into something, whether a franchise, celebrity, or a book or movie, I obsessively research it to the point of actual concern. When I went through  my Pirates of the Caribbean phase in middle school, I watched all of the movies too many times to count, and have probably seen every video on the internet that in any way relates to the franchise. I watched the all of the DVD extras, along with the audio commentary of all of the films multiple times. I learned how to play the music from the soundtrack on my flute. I learned the proper terminology for the parts of a ship. I annoyed all of my friends with random bits of pirate trivia. It was insane. But, I grew out of it within a couple years.

I do that with everything that I take a liking to — The Harry Potter books, John Green, Doctor Who, Anderson Cooper, and most recently, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It doesn’t help that they have every episode of the show from 1999 is available for free online, and that YouTube makes available every Jon Stewart interview and stand-up routine since 1994 at my fingertips.

That being said, Jon Stewart’s whole rise to fame is actually really inspiring, and I’ve gained a whole new appreciation for comedians in general. There’s a bunch of Stewart’s failed attempts at movies, and a hilarious stand up bit about him living alone with his cat in an apartment in NYC. On a Howard Stern interview, he talks about how coming home from his first Letterman interview back to his crappy apartment was a reality check about how fame and celebrity doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a needed reminder about how much work and struggle actually goes in (for most people) to get to where they are today.

What really stuck with me though: there’s an interview with David Letterman from 1996, after Jon Stewart’s show on MTV just got cancelled, and this young, more hyperactive version of the Stewart we know today spends the whole segment making jokes about how his career is ended, how he doesn’t classify as a “celebrity” any more, etc. etc. It’s so exciting to watch, because you do know what comes after that interview — that he doesn’t disappear into obscurity, but becomes more relevant than ever before once he gets The Daily Show. It’s a comforting reminder to know that people you admire, and who are on seemingly untouchable perches of fame and success, have to deal with the same ups and downs of life as the rest of us.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Today being the last day of Thanksgiving break, a general sense of panic is settling in — which likely won’t abate until the start of winter break. Only two weeks are left of the fall semester, and all of the work that I class work I may have slacked off on is coming back with a vengeance. Finals week (aka Hell week) from freshman year is literally the worst experience of college I’ve had… a dark stain on what was an otherwise great year of new friends, experiences, and acclimation to the college environment. Too many late — yet unproductive — nights leading up to exams was a harsh reality check on the fact that none of us really knew how to study coming in to college.

I’ve learned so much in the past year about the basics of a good work-ethic that my self-assured freshman self thought she already knew. Hopefully, I won’t repeat some of the same mistakes I made last year in my freshman-year naiveté. That being said, these next two weeks are going to be rough as hell, no matter what I do.

I’m so looking forward to winter break and what will hopefully be a non-stop reading marathon. This semester, my “to-read” list has grown to a near unmanageable length, so the goal is to blaze through as many of them as possible when I have time off. I’ve tried to incentivize it in this way: work as hard as you can the next two weeks to make winter break feel that much more deserved and enjoyable. Hopefully that’ll be enough to keep me motivated through the maelstrom of finals week.

Attempt #2834729 at daily journaling

This is the first of what will hopefully be daily, casual, stream-of-consciousness blogging. I’ve always been obsessed with the idea of journaling — I have too many half-used notebooks cluttering my bookshelves to count. But, I have yet to maintain a solid streak of daily writing beyond just a couple days.

When I went to India, I was in second grade and scheduled to miss a lot of school because of the trip. One of my assignments by my well-intentioned teacher was to write every day about my experiences abroad. The first couple pages of my notebook was filled with detailed descriptions and cultural insight by my 7-year-old self, but the rest of the pages were left bare for the rest of my two-month trip.

When I returned, and realized with panic that I had a near empty journal to fill and turn in to my teacher within the next two days, it was absolutely miserable. Jet-lagged and bleary-eyed, I remember going through my dad’s itinerary of my travels, trying to trace back what I was doing each day of my trip to come up with journal entries.

Each post became shorter and shorter in frustration, and the entire project turned into a notebook filled with every possible construction of the sentence, “Played with cousins.”

Hopefully, this attempt will be a little more productive and successful than that unfortunate experience. The goal is to write a post that is not structured, and at least 250 words. This is my promise, in writing to not cop out. No gif articles. No listicles. No links to videos. No double-dipping into past writing, or writing from class. LeT’s dO DiS.

Dirty Laundry: Otherwise known as the 21 previously unforeseeable side-effects of joining a dance team

  1. Perpetual, debilitating soreness in places you didn’t even know you had muscles.
  2. Inability to clamber onto the awkward height beds in the Hume dorms due to said soreness.
  3. Actually considering sleeping on the floor because of above reason.
  4. Mountainous accumulation of dirty, sweaty laundry that you keep saying you’ll take care of, but “lol yolo” tends to take precedence.
  5. Trying to dress a least a little bit cute for the first couple of practices,
  6. But realize that these days you only spend 5 frantic minutes trying to find at least a clean t-shirt before rehearsal.

(For full post, click here)